PARIS — French naval shipbuilder DCNS reported Friday a 25 percent monetary drop in 2016 orders to €2.65 billion (U.S. $2.80 billion) from the previous year. The company said it expected to boost orders this year with a design contract for Australia's 12 attack submarines.
Canberra's selection of DCNS for the Australian Future Submarine Program was a major event last year, Chairman and CEO Hervé Guillou said in a statement with the financial results.
"The resulting positive economic effects will make themselves felt over time as the successive contracts are executed and negotiated," he said.
DCNS expects to sign a design contract for the Australian boats this year, a spokesman said.
The shipbuilder is still in negotiation with the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance in a claim for some €100 million of profit lost in the 2015 cancellation of the Mistral helicopter carrier deal with Russia, two sources said.
Among export prospects, DCNS has pitched its Gowind to the United Arab Emirates, which is looking to order a 2,400-ton corvette, with an option for one more, an industry executive said.
The UAE tender has attracted a rival offer from Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie of France teamed with Abu Dhabi Ship Building.
Damen and Fincantieri are also competing, business website La Tribune reported.
DCNS' net profit rose about 50 percent to €87.5 million from €58.4 million, while earnings before interest, tax and amortization rose about 54 percent to €89.5 million from €58.2 million. The core earnings account for 2.8 percent of sales, up from 1.9 percent in the previous year.
Sales rose 5 percent to €3.19 billion, with 38 percent from international deals.
Export clients accounted for 28 percent of the €2.65 billion of orders last year, down from 2015 orders worth €3.52 billion.
"The improvement of the competitiveness of our offers once again allowed us, in 2016, to increase the average margin rate for the orders taken," the company said. The total order book stood at €11.6 billion.
The book-to-bill ratio, or ratio of orders to sales, was 1.05 over the three years 2014-2016.
DCNS forecast a 10 percent rise in 2017 net profit, as well as further growth in sales, core earnings and operating profit, but gave no details.
France holds 62.49 percent of DCNS, with Thales owning 35 percent and staff associations holding the rest.
Christopher P. Cavas contributed to this report.